At a time of transient competitive advantage, the rewarding and engagement of employees is shifting from monetary and functional recognition to the recognition of capabilities and experience.
The result is an increase in organizational intelligence—the unique approaches, solutions, management philosophies, and practices within an organization.
Although organizational intelligence was once considered confidential or secret, it's now much more open because of our culture of extensive digital thought-sharing.
In today's business world, it's actually vital to share organizational intelligence and content to increase brand awareness and foster thought leadership, which can also be critical in determining other aspects of business strategy, such as pricing, product/service offerings, and processes.
Employees are among the most effective channels for dispersing organizational intelligence.
A structured content creation framework can help employees across departments and industries gain recognition as subject matter experts and thought leaders, helping the company achieve business development and strategic marketing objectives.
1. Identify and develop content creation skills
Employees generally do not inherently possess the right mix of storytelling skills to effectively convert their experience and knowledge into compelling content that drives business objectives.
Marketing departments need to identify employees who are willing and able to contribute to a content strategy, and then help them foster the appropriate skills to be successful. To start, companies can...
- Offer soft skills training on writing, grammar, visual storytelling, and story structure according to medium.
- Hire writing coaches or consultants to work with content creators to fine-tune skills specific to their expertise. Some one-on-one training may be needed, depending on current skill level and comfort in content creation.
- Create a defined process for providing content creators with regular feedback on improving storytelling and content-creation skills. Do not simply revise content and publish. Use the revision process as a learning opportunity for each content creator.
2. Establish a content creation and management strategy
Strategic decisions within organizations should include content creation and management. Though many organizations encourage employees to create content on an as-needed basis, a clearly defined strategy can bring more focus, direction and results. To start...
- Create a content team. Determine who in the organization is a content contributor, editor, distributor/publisher, and manager.
- Align content topics, mediums, and distribution/publication methods with current marketing and business development efforts. Use an annual or semi-annual content calendar that links each piece of content to timely events or initiatives. Calendars should include employee assignments and deadlines for each stage of the process.
- Create a realistic timeline to accomplish all tasks on the content calendar. Take existing priorities, staffing, and budgets into account.
- Create metrics to assess the effectiveness of the content that employees create. Measurement tools and outcomes will likely vary by medium and target audience. First, consider your overall goal, and then brainstorm the methods available to achieve that goal.
3. Establish a dynamic knowledge management system
Knowledge management systems, which store organizational intelligence as well as the flow of knowledge, are no longer linear and static. Cross-departmental transfer of knowledge is essential to an effective content strategy, as various perspectives on a technical subject can lead to the creation of concepts and articles that uniquely support marketing and business development goals.
To establish a structured and dynamic knowledge management system, start with the following:
- Create a central repository where organizational intelligence is stored and accessed according to controls set by department heads. Work with the IT department to assess technological resources, identify a portal, and conduct internal training with all employees who need to contribute and must have access the repository.
- Classroom exchanges and discussions, though “old school,” are effective methods of communicating and disseminating institutional knowledge. Strategically sharing presentations and technical reports helps employees across departments understand various approaches the company is employing to solve a business problem, and how each approach meshes with others.
4. Acknowledge the contributions of content creators
Content creation needs to be projected to employees as an exercise and opportunity to improve the organization's and the individual's visibility within the industry, as opposed to an added task in which the employee doesn't see present-day value, rewards, or recognition.
Organizations can score content creation as a critical component of achieving business goals and objectives, and recognize employees for their efforts.
Simply knowing their contributions will be recognized can serve as motivation for employees to readily build content and examine their assignments from a process improvement point of view. Opportunities to acknowledge contributions include...
- Showcasing selected content in internal employee communications, such as newsletters, social media groups, and town hall presentations
- Creating an internal awards program publicly recognizing the hard work and output of content producers (also consider tangible rewards or experiences)
Organizations that empower their employees to create compelling content can further enhance individual and company-wide thought leadership and public awareness. Content creation systems, processes, and strategies provide direction and help ensure the content relates to key business goals.
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